Monday, December 19, 2016

Madison Madness

Happy Monday:) 

Madison is AWESOME. I love it here. SO country. I live in the middle of no where. It is TINY. I'm in a lil branch of about 40 people on a good day. It is the strangest feeling here. We are an hour away from all the other missionaries and you will go miles and miles at night sometimes with out seeing a single light or a sign of civilization. In some places it truly feels like a third world country with its poverty stricken and neglected people. Most don't have phones or internet here which makes it tricky but the people are Wonderful. Simply wonderful. We live in an old hotel from the 60's that smells like a cabin ah. Sister Anderson is great. We could not be more opposite but we will put in some good work together. She is teaching me a lot!

I will give yall just a few glimpses into Madison....:)
We had a powerful lesson the other day. We sat in plastic chairs at the end of Kathlene's ( a Recent converts sick momma) bed. Her lil sassy son got baptized a few months ago so him and kathlene and his sister all had a great lesson from the Book of Mormon. NOthing is better than teaching people who are genuinely trying to learn more! Despite their being cockroaches everywhere literally (all over the walls, falling from the ceiling, and running across my feet) but no one seemed to notice besides me ha so on we went. Now I just shake them off my feet with out breaking thought. God provides:) We invited them all to be baptized. And we are really making progress.

Another night we went to a less actives house who is a strange man. OH Brother Starlin. I chased one of his 12 cats with pink eye around his yard trying to catch her for him. She bite me and he said " I hope she don't give ya cellulitis." He thinks one of them gave it to him and isn't sure which one... I just laughed and said "ME too!" 

The second day here Sister Anderson told me we were singing in a rest homes Christmas Program. When we showed up it was all the residents and all their families and all the workers. Hahah it was actually a pretty big event. First a female Deacon got up and praised her soul out with Hallelujahs and Amens and then another minister got up and taught from the Bible. And then the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints got up and we sang silent night. Hahah yall know my singing is less than average so i was lucky that every one was so good and loving and we all worshiped together.

Almost everyone here is African American and we went to Methodist Cantada last night that one of our investigators was preforming in. Man. I love that no matter where we are as God's children, or what we believe, or how we show it. We simply show it. We all are here worshiping and trying to love.

I love this Gospel. No where eles do I feel the spirit stronger than within this Divine, Christ led religion. I really felt the power of prayer sustain me this week. No matter how far away we are from those we love our loving Father is only a prayer away. Prayer is something so subtle and the help it gives is hard for me to put into words or feelings but it IS REAL. He lifts us to do and be who he calls of us in this life. To rise us in our environments to stay true to the Sons and Daughters that we are. I can't wait to see you all on SUNDAY! I love you!

Sister Jackson

Monday, December 12, 2016

Farewell Niceville!


THANK YOU FOR THE BIRTHDAY WISHES. I am 20 and 10 pounds heavier with the 5 too many cakes i ate this week:) Thank you for loving me:) Transfers are HERE and I'm headed to Madison Florida this week! It is the very edge of the mission past Tally! It is always bittersweet leaving but I know God needs me there. My last week in Niceville was a really really good one. I am just soaking up the memories... sometimes literally!!!!

SO I don't know what my luck with pee lately is but somehow I just can't get away. Every week we help a grumpy lady change her sheets and clean her little trailer. With out fail there is always Dog poop and pee all over the floor. This time I managed to stand in it until Sister Fox gave me the cue to move and because of our back to back appointments I had soggy sticky shoes and feet for the next 7 hours. It was straight FILTHY and all we could do was laugh! That day was just all laughing as we knocked on houses in the back woods where the only thing people were interested in was the F word and using sharpie to write the house number address on the outside of their house haha.

We had contacted into a lady at the food bank were we volunteer at and was able to make it over to her house this week. She is an organized hoarder and her house was sensory overload. She was broken. And searching for purpose. It astounds me daily how much love the Lord gives me for those I teach. It is REAL. We sat there for 2 hours with our arms around her as she cried and cried. I was reading in my setting apart blessing and one of the things it mentions is the chance to help others recognize who they are and what they mean to God. This week that opportunity came time and time again. It is SO humbling.  

Goodbyes are hard. When you leave an area you look back and really think about who you were there for. There is a 27 year old girl named Kristy who I know I needed just as much as she needed me. She grew up in the church but stopped going when her parents got a divorce. So many steps have been made from the first time we knocked on her door and she barely let us in, till yesterday when she came to church for the first time church in 8 years. Gosh how I love her. It is the GREATEST calling to be able to be there hand in hand with someone as they come closer to God and his gospel. On a mission there are lots of promises to you with gifts that you are given or blessings to help you and to be honest sometimes it is really hard to see those on regular bases. But with Kristy they could have not been more apparent. I know if not for anyone eles I was sent to Niceville for her.

I know that is how it is with all of in life. We all are given our personalities and hearts to help someone or something in the World for the better. And although its a life long pursuit I know God leads us to exactly where he needs us in life. I pray we can all trust that and have the courage to be the Sons and Daughters he needs! I know I have questions or doubts weekly and what it comes down to is clingy to our Father. He will hold and carry you.   I LOVE YOU I miss you! And I can't wait to see all your beautiful faces in 2 short weeks:)

Love, Sister Jackson

BROTHER PAULUS. He is a Mennonite that we visit. He is awesome. 

This is Rhonda from the email!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hit the (3pointer) Quan

Hello my dear ones! 

This week i was honestly just full of love for the life i live and my Savior. I went to Crestview for an exchange with Sister Saunders and we witnessed miracles.

 We were lost and driving through the back roads/woods and i saw a guy in his 4XL Clippers Jersey playing basketball and i turned to Sister Saunders and said "DO you play basketball?!" And she said "Not really", i told her to stop the car, i rolled down my window and yelled " HEY! Can we play?!" Ha he looked at us like seriously? And but said sure. We pulled over and jumped out in our dresses and began playing. I said lets make a deal! If we win you have to listen to a message from us! He agreed. And let me tell you the Lord provided. Because neither Sister Saunders nor I have any basketball playing capability and for the first time we somehow made the shots over and over again and won! Hahah we both just looked at eachother in shock. His name was NiQuan. He turned off his jammin beats and put the ball down. So there we stood in the street as we taught him the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was peaceful and powerful. He had just lost his mother earlier that year and accepted the invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon with hope and excitement. 

Us and the Destin Elders made Light the World shirts at Walmart and took whiteboards around the Commons (A big outdoor shopping center) and chased people down to write on our boards how they can spread Christs light this season. All while sharing our cards and videos with them. Super neat!

I see God's hand in my life daily. It is neat, painful, and rewarding as i grow to a place where i can recognize him more fully. If i know one thing, i know that this gospel brings joy. When i'm at my happiest it is because of the Joy i feel in Jesus Christ and the plan of happiness and progression for each one of us. There is more to this life than what we take it for. I love you all SO much. Sending so many hugs and kisses from Florida:)

Sister Jackson